Gum Recession – Causes and Prevention
When the margin of your gum tissue starts pulling back, your teeth are exposed. This process is known as gum recession. It is not something that can be easily noticed since the process is gradual and the early symptoms are usually ignored. Gum recession is a serious dental condition which could lead to loss of teeth if left untreated. This is usually because the bone structure of teeth is damaged thus preventing teeth from being firmly held. If you have gum recession, you will be glad to know there are treatment methods available and steps you can take to prevent it from progressing.
Why Do Gums Recede?
1. Poor Dental Health
Brushing and flossing your teeth is mandatory. Failure to do these as required results in formation and accumulation of plaque which later turns to tartar.
2. Poor Brushing Methods
Brushing should be done gently. When done aggressively, it makes the enamel wear away thus leading to gum recession.
3. Periodontal Disease
This is a gum infection which destroys the gum and supporting bone tissue thus leading to loss of teeth. In many cases, gum recession occurs due to gum disease
This is the grinding of teeth. When a lot of force is exerted on teeth, the gums recede.
5. Tongue or Lip Piercings
As cool as these piercings look, they can cause damage. The piercings irritate the gum causing it to wear away gradually.
How Can I Prevent Gum Recession?
It has been repeatedly said that prevention is better than cure and this is true in this case. There are various things you can do to make sure you are not a victim of gum recession. The most common 3 ways to prevent gum recession include:
1. Wearing a Mouth Guard
A mouth guard is a covering worn over the teeth. Its purpose is to protect your teeth from harm that may be caused by grinding or any other harmful thing.
There are different kinds of mouth guards. In order for them to work effectively, you need to know which type to use. The various kinds of mouth guards include:
a) Stock Mouth Guards
These guards come ready made and they can be easily found in various stores. Many people opt for this type of mouth guards because they are cheap. In the long run, they are expensive due to the oral damage they can cause. Most of us have different dental structures and needs hence, a mouth guard may need to be adjusted to meet those needs. Stock mouth guards can rarely be adjusted and this makes it difficult for you to talk or breathe normally.
b) Boil and Bite Mouth Guards
They are also commonly found in various stores. The boil and bite mouth protector works by boiling it to soften it and then placing it in your mouth. Once it is in your mouth, you can shape it using your finger or tongue by applying pressure around it. They provide more protection than stock mouth guards since their structure can be altered to fit your needs.
c) Custom mouth Guards
These are the best mouth guards to use. The guards are usually designed by your dentist or available for order online and fitted in your mouth after being molded. Unlike stock mouth guards, custom guards are comfortable to wear and offer maximum protection. Some people avoid using custom guards due to their expensive nature but a person can now purchase custom dental night guards online bypassing the dentist and saving hundreds of dollars.
i) Soft Night Guard
It is suitable for mild cases of teeth grinding. They are made using soft material which makes it comfortable for you to wear it.
ii) Dual Laminate Night Guard
It is made of soft material on the inside and hard material on the outside. This type of night guard lasts longer and is suitable for severe cases of teeth grinding.
iii) Hard Night Guard
This is the hardest type of night guard and is suitable in cases of heavy teeth grinding. It can last up to 5 years.
2 Proper Brushing Methods
Brush your teeth gently preferably 3 times a day. Avoid being aggressive while bushing and also avoid brushing your teeth multiple times a day. This may make the enamel of your teeth wear off which results in gum recession.
Something most people do wrong is brushing their teeth for 30 seconds and then rinse their mouths and go. Proper brushing should be done for about 2 minutes so that you can remove as much residue as possible from your teeth.
If the toothbrush you are currently using is almost a year old, you need to throw it out immediately. Dentists recommend that you change your toothbrush after every 3 months of use. Yes, even if it still looks new, it may not be effective in removing plaque compared to new brushes. You should also change your brush each time you have a flu or cold to make sure the germs that stick to your toothbrush do not cause a re-infection.
3 Treating Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease needs to be treated as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your gums and bone tissues. The type of treatment you will require depends on how advanced the periodontal disease is.
Mild cases of the disease will require deep cleaning to remove plaque. A laser may be used at times to remove tartar and plaque. It results in less inflammation, less bleeding, and less discomfort. In addition to this treatment method, antibiotics may be prescribed to kill the remaining bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets.
In severe cases, surgery is necessary. If deep cleaning and antibiotics do not work, surgery is unavoidable. In this case, the gums are lifted to remove tartar and they are sutured back so that they can be firm around the tooth. This procedure is known as flap surgery.
Grafting is another procedure performed to regenerate tissue of the bone or gum which was lost due to the disease. The graft used can be either synthetic or natural. The type of graft used will depend on your situation since each case is different. You should always ask your dentist about the level of success of the graft he chooses to use.